The Slovenia Times

Three Hydro Power Stations on Central Sava Due by 2020


While the government started laying the groundwork for a concession for the three hydro power stations as early as in 2011, a concession agreement has not yet been signed.

Blaž Košorok, director general of power utility HSE, the concessionaire, has regretted the slow procedure in a recent interview with the STA. Only about 30% of the power potential of Slovenia's longest river is currently used, which he says is "a shame".

Suhadol, Trbovlje and Renke, which are only the first three of the planned chain of hydro power stations on the central section of the Sava, are to produce 378 gigawatt hours of electricity a year.

The concession proceedings were launched in 2006, but so far virtually nothing has been done, Košorok says.

He adds that the concession agreement has not been signed yet due to disagreement with the state on four points of the contract.

While a concession has been granted for the use of the Sava's hydro energy in the section between Medvode and Suhadol, where 10 power stations are to be built, the state is at least party preventing the construction of all ten power stations, according to the HSE boss.

He points to the decision to include the hydrologically richest section of the Sava into Natura 2000, an EU wide network of protected natural areas.

In addition, investors are not keen on investing in new production facilities at the moment, he says.

Košorok believes that under the most optimistic scenario, the concession contract could be signed at the end of the first quarter of 2015.

While saying that the project would be extremely good for Slovenia, Košorok admits that HSE is financially not fit to carry it out at the moment.

"But we have a partner in the project, Gen Energija, which is ready to take over," he says, adding that the relevant documents could be transferred to the state-owned company which manages Slovenia's half of the Slovenian-Croatian nuclear power station in Krško in the first quarter of 2015.

The Infrastructure Ministry has meanwhile told the STA that the construction of the hydro power stations will launch a new investment cycle which would create new jobs. The ministry estimates that over 80% of the necessary equipment, works and services could be provided by Slovenian businesses.

In order to realise the project, the power stations chain must first be included in a spatial plan which then needs to be endorsed by the government. The Environment and Spatial Planning Ministry must obtain a construction permit for each individual plant.

A decree on spatial plans for Suhadol, Trbovlje and Renke was endorsed by the government in August 2013.

The rest of the planned power stations are to be built in the Ljubljana to Litija section of the Sava but their number and exact locations will depend on an assessment of their impact on the environment, as this section is a part of a protected area.

A decree on a spatial plan for these plants is expected to be endorsed by the government in January 2015.

Works on the entire section between Ježice and Suhadol, for which HSE has been granted a concession, are expected to be completed after 2030.

Asked if the entire project is still valued at EUR 1.3bn as planned in November 2011, the Infrastructure Ministry could not provide an exact answer.


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